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Full text of "A genealogy of six generations of Gemmills in America, with notes on their Scottish ancestry"

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Judge of the Municipal Court of Chicago 

19 17 



Chapter I Kinship of the Gemmills Page 6 

Chapter II The Name Gemmill Page 8 

Chapter III Early History XI Century Page 10 

Chapter III Early Home in Ayr Page 12 

Chapter V Six Generations in America Page 22 

Chapter VI John Gemmill of 1745 Page 30 

Chapter VII William Gemmill of 1771 Page 36 

Chapter VIII James Gemmill of 1800 Page 40 

Chapter IX William Gemmill of 1826 Page 42 

Chapter X Thomas Gemmill of 1830 Page 46 

Chapter XI William Nelson Gemmill of 1860 Page 50 

Chapter XII Fenwick and its Environs Today Page 58 

Chapter XIII The Gemmills of Canada Page 66 

Chapter XIV Great European War of 1914 Page 72 

Chapter XV Source of Information Page 78 

Page Three 

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There are times when we would know the sources of the 
streams which flow through our veins to generations yet unborn. 
It is to satisfy this desire that this booklet is written. 

The Gemmills have been a simple folk. They have engaged 
in tilling the soil, and in the humbler tasks of the village trades- 
man. A few, from the earliest days, achieved distinction as 
martyrs, soldiers, preachers and scholars. 

There were Gemmills in England before the days of William 
The Conqueror, and some of them fought against this Norman's 
cruel invasion of Albion. 

There were Gemmills who, wearing the accouterments of the 
Scotch yeomanry, fought with Robert Bruce at Bannockburn. 

There were Gemmills who marched and prayed and fought 
with Cromwell at Marston Moor. 

There were Gemmills in the new world, who tramped with 
Braddock through the wilderness to Ft. Duquesne, and shared his 
unhappy fate. 

There were Gemmills with Wolf, on the Plains of Abraham 
and with the Minute Men at Concord and Lexington. 

There were Gemmills with Green at Yorktown, and Brown at 
Lundys Lane. 

There were Gemmills with Grant at Shiloh and with Meade 
at Gettysburg. 




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Page Five 

And in this last and greatest war, there were Gemmills whose 
heroic deeds at Gallopoli and the Dardenelles, will live as long 
as courage lasts. 

There were Gemmills at the Marne and on the Somme, and 
some of these noble fellows now lie buried there with comrades. 
They died that the liberties we love, and bought with so much 
blood, might not perish from the earth. 

There are Gemmills fighting in Flanders today, not more for 
King and Country, than for America and all her cherished in- 

Nor did their glory shine alone upon the battlefield, for there 
were Gemmills burned at the stake, for conscience sake and there 
were Gemmills who preached the unsearchable riches of God, 
when to do so meant torture and death. 

Page Six 



Freeman, the historian, says that the name Gemmill is of 
Danish origin — and means "ancient." 

It is quite certain that the names Gemmill and Campbell had 
the same origin. In the early days men were named after fa- 
miliar objects or trades, so we have Lyons and Foxes, Smiths and 
Taylors, Blacks and Whites. All the letters of both the Hebrew 
and Greek alphabets were the names of familiar objects. The 
first letter of the Greek alphabet is "alpha" and of the Hebrew 
"aleph," both mean "ox." The second letter of the Greek alpha- 
bet is "beta" and of the Heberw "beth," both mean "house." The 
third letter of the Greek alphabet is "gamma" and of the Hebrew 
"gimel," both mean "camel." 

It is fair to assume that the names of Gemmill and Campbell 
had the same origin, and this was far back at the beginnings of 
Greek and Hebrew literature. In the early records we find the 
name appearing as Gimel, Gemil, Gamel, Gemmills, Gemmill and 


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In the eleventh century, John Geniel, a son of Orm, was an 
officer in King Harold's army and was slain by Tostig, a brother 
of the king. The records show that at about the same time a 
certain John Gimel restored the old church of Kirkdale, which 
had been destroyed by the invaders. For this he was made a 
Thane by the King. 

In the Domesday Book, which was written by William the 
Conqueror in 1080, frequent mention is made of the Gemmills, 
one of whom married Etheldrell, daughter of Alfred of 

After the Norman Conquest the estates of all those who had 
opposed the invaders were confiscated and given to the friends 
of the king. The Gemmills who were of this number, were driven 
northward into Scotland and their lands given to Hugh Fitz 
Baldric. One branch of the Gemmill family, at one time, fled to 
Ireland. In 1293, Henry Gemmill appeared in Ireland as at- 
torney of record for William DeSpineto. Those who were driven 
northward settled in Ayrshire in the towns of Fenwick and 
Irvine, a few miles from Glasgow. 

According to an ancient law, the lands owned by the father 

Page Nine 

fell to his eldest son. Sometimes additional lands were bought 
beyond the original holdings, and these were often willed to the 
other sons. In this way families were kept together for gener- 
ation after generation. 

In 1570, the registers show that the Gemmills owned all the 
land of Raith, Raithmuir, Dalsraith, Grassyeards, Daraelay, 
Longdykes, Black Brier, Cullaire, Clonfin, Blackwood, Hillhouse, 
Bankdyke, Monkland and Weardlow, all situated in what was 
known as the Fenwick district. This included about 3,321 acres, 
most of it good land. 

It is certain that all the Gemmills that settled in this 
neighborhood were related, for their names frequently appear in 
each other's wills as witnesses. About four hundred acres of the 
land was described in the wills as nine shilling four pence land. 
The other was called five pound land. This was the valuation 
put on it by the King of Scotland for purposes of taxation. This 
Raithmuir land was only subdivided twice in two centuries. 

In 1473, King Edward IV issued a commission to Richard 
Gamel to sail the Good Ship LeMary of Scotland in the King's 

In 1474, Dick Gamel was a royal court draper to the King of 

In the accounts of the Lord High Treasurer is the following 


Fra Dick Gammil y 2 elne of satyne to lyne the cuffs 

of the sleffs of a jacket for the king, and V elne of velvous 

for a goune to my lady £12/10. 

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V/py ' y yy* +* — 

Page Ten 

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The earliest record of the Gemmills in Scotland is found in 
the County of Ayr. Two branches of the family lived here from 
a very early day — the oldest branch at Templehouse in the parish 
of Dunlop — the other at Fenwick in the parish of Kilmarnock — 
most of the Gemmills in the United States seem to have come 
from the Fenwick stock. 

The little town of Fenwick is but a few miles from Irvine 
— and lies between Irvine and Glasgow — both are near Kil- 
marnock. Here the Druids once worshipped and offered sacri- 

In 1593, the village by a decree of Parliament was swallowed 
up in the parish of Kilmarnock. The patronage of the church 
was granted to the Earl of Kilmarnock. This act met with great 
opposition and frequent fighting between the King's soldiers and 
the inhabitants. Kilmarnock was named from Saint Marnock, 
one of the earliest of the Presbyterian saints. The parish in- 
cluded 8,340 acres of land. Under the Parliamentary decree the 
people of the parish were compelled to pay as tithes to the monks 



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Page Eleven 

and ecclesiastics annually: 347 Bolls and 2 fiiiots of meal, two 
fi riots of beer and L-33/6 in money. 

The war that had waged in Europe for several centuries 
against the domination of the Roman Church culminated in a 
defeat for the church, but in its stead came the established 
Church of England. This was dominated wholly by the King and 
was no less objectionable to the peasantry of Scotland than had 
been the Roman Church. Scotland was always the center of the 
fight against the established church. The Presbyterians espe- 
cially resisted every effort of the kings of England to force the 
church upon Scotland. This led to the organization of the 
Covenanters. Every member of the church entered into a solemn 
covenant to resist all the efforts of the kings to force a state re- 
ligion upon him, and took a solemn oath to follow the rule and 
teaching of the Presbyterian Church. It was through these 
perilous times that the records show many activities of the 

In 1547, out of 300 parishioners of Kilmarnock who voted for 
the election of a priest, a large number of them were Gemmills. 
Each one voting must have been the head of a family. At a little 
later time there is a record of the refusal of residents of Kil- 
marnock to sell corn and straw to the army. For this a bloody 
battle was fought at Airsmoss in which John Geminill and 
several others were killed. They were buried in Willwood Val- 
ley, July 20, 1680. There is an old monument erected at Airsmoss 
over the bodies of these men. It bears the following inscription : 

These men did search through moor and moss 

To find out all that had no pass; 
These faithful witnesses were found 

And murdered there upon the ground. 
Their bodies in this gound do lie; 

Their blood for vengeance yet doth cry; 
They may a standing witness be for Presbytry 

Against prelacy. 

In 1685, Peter Gemmill, a young man about twenty-one years 
old, was shot at Fenwick. He and several other staunch 
Covenanters seeing the approach of the King's dragoons for the 


Page Twelve 

purpose of forcing obedience to the royal church, boldly set forth 
to meet them, and all were killed. On a small slab at Fenwick 
is this inscription : 

"Here lies the corpse of Peter Gemmill, who was shot 
to death by Nisbet and his party in 1685 for bearing his 
faithful testimony to the cause of Christ. Age 21 years. 

"This man like Anchorite of old, 

For conscience sake was thrust from home and hold. 
Blood-thirsty red coats cut his prayer short, 

And even his dying groans were made their sport. 
Ah, Scotland breech of solemn vows repent, 

Or blood thy crimes will be thy punishment." 

This same Peter Gemmill has a place in "The Book of 
Martyrs," and is mentioned in the volume called "The Cloud of 
Witnesses." He had a brother David who was driven into exile 
to the Barbadoes and later returned to America. The later book 
refers to a John Gemmill of Fenwick, who while attending a 
prayer meeting was set upon by a band of troopers. Rushing 
from the church he seized the bayonet of a soldier and thrust him 
through ; then made good his escape. It also contains an account 
of Ralph Gemmill, who was burned at the stake because he re- 
fused to yield to the demands of the church. Irvine, which was 
a part of the parish of Kilmarnock, is on the Firth of Cylde. It 
was the home of Robert Burns. It was also the home of William 
and Zachariah Gemmill, the first of whom was the ancient father 
of the Gemmills in York County, Pa. These Gemmills were un- 
doubtedly of the same stock that originally settled in Fenwick. 
Robert Bruce also came from this parish. Here he enlisted an 
army, with which he drove back the English invader. At least 
one Gemmill was among those wro fought with him at Bannock- 

Later, when Charles I of England determined to force the 
established church upon Scotland, most of the inhabitants of 
Kilmarnock joined hands with Cromwell in the battle at Marston 
Moor, which resulted in the complete overthrow of the King. 

The records show that for six generations beginning in the 
fourteenth century the eldest son of the parent family was called 
John Gemmill. The first John suffered martydom June 1, 1679, 

Page Thirteen 

at the hands of Claverhouse whose bloody acts against the 
Covenanters terrorized the whole of Scotland. The sixth John 
was born in Kilmarnock in about 1774 and emigrated to Phila- 
delphia in 1781. The next year he entered the University of 
Pennsylvania where he afterwards graduated and became an in- 
structor. He married Sarah Knox in Philadelphia. She was the 
widow of Colonel Robert Knox of the Continental Army and was 
celebrated for her great beauty. She died one year after her 
marriage. John Gemmill then studied theology and was or- 
dained a Presbyterian minister in 1790. He preached in 
Chester County, Pennsylvania, and was so popular that he was 
offered one of the best Congregational pulpits in New England 
at New Haven. This he accepted. A little later he was offered 
the Chair of Divinity in Yale College by President D wight, but 
declined the Honor. In October, 1803, he married his second 
cousin Eebecca Irwin. While staying with his brother in 
Huntington County, Pennsylvania, he saw Rebecca and thought 
she was very comely, and advised his brother Zachariah to marry 
her. His brother replied: "Marry her yourself." This he did. 
He died in Chester County in 1814, leaving four children, — John, 
Liza, Caroline and Amelia. He wrote very much during his life- 
time, and for a short time was a member of the State Senate of 
Pennsylvania. Inscribed on his tombstone is the following: 

"Sacred to the memory of Rev. John Gemmill, who de- 
parted this life September 14, 1814. His eminent ability 
as a teacher of the religion of Christ, his social virtues, 
his private worth and his superior attainments in science, 
are enshrined in the fond memory of his bereaved ad- 
mirers. His patriotic and public service are recorded in 
the annals of his country." 
A cousin of this John, also named John, left Kilmarnock in 
1750 and settled in Carlyle, Pennsylvania. He was a watchmaker 
and made a large grandfather's clock, Which remained in the 
family through many generations. 

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Page Fourteen 

His son John, who was born in 1804, settled in Miffin County, 
Pennsylvania, and bought a farm near Lewistou, which he called 
Kilmarnock. This son also had an eldest son John, who was 
born on the Kilmarnock farm. He had several children whom 
he named, Thomas, Zachariah, Elizabeth, Marian and Ann. 
The will of the sixth John read in part as follows : 

"June 18, 1770. 
Now, my dear children, you have heard in my last will 
what the Lord has blessed me with and I have a far more 
important matter to lay before you, which lies nearer 
my heart than all the temporal treasurer of ten thousand 
worlds, and that concerns your immortal souls. It was 
of God's free grace that T received you and to Him I 
recommend you again. Let none of you turn to the ways 
of sin and service of the Devil. Beware of lying and 
swearing; be careful how you spend your Sabbaths and 
beware of the sin of disobedience to your mother and 
your father or any of your superiors. Beware of pride, 
passion and obscene discourse. And now, my dear 
children, as I am within view of death, my last word to 
you is that you will observe to choose good company and 
carefully shun bad company, and know that the Lord 
may grant each of you the shining of His face and leave 
on you the light of His countenance and finally receive 
you into everlasting felicity. 

John Gem mill." 

One of the earlier John Gemmills of Raithnrair died in 1578. 
In his will he bequeathed that his fourth son Peter should inherit 
the land. He was to care for his sisters Margaret and Marian 
and to pay his younger brother Alexander one hundred marks as 
Bairns part. He gave his sword to his brother Alexander, and 
this was handed from father to son through many generations. 
Tradition has it that the elder John Gemmill wielded the sword 
at the battle of Langside which was fought within fifteen miles 
of the Raithnrair farm. The older son of this Peter Gemmill 
was John, whose contract of marriage was recorded in 1614 in 
the register of deeds in Edinburgh. In the contract Peter Gem- 
mill agreed to transfer to his son and his wife and their children 

Page Fifteen 

all of their 9/4 land in Raithmuir. John Gemmill, the son, died 

in 1622, and in his wlil he named his eldest son John Gemmill 

as sole heir to his 4 penny land in Raithmuir, and his "richt and 

kyndness of his 20 shilling land to Peter and Jonet, his bairns, 
tak of the equal half." 

There was a James Gemmill who was born in Kilmarnock, 

Scotland, in 1810, and moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where 

he followed the tailoring trade. He had a son born in 1840, who 

was a corporal during the Civil War, and a thirty-second degree 

The following is an interesting page from the commissariat 

of Glasgow, showing a register of lands in that district during a 
certain period: 

Alexander Gemmill, burgess of Glasgow, October 11, 1725. 

Andrew Gemmill, son of John Gemmill in confir, June 1, 

Andrew Gemmill, parish of Kilmarnock, July 13, 1630. 

Anabelle, sponse to James Gemmill, April 24, 1672. 

Bessie Gemmill, spouse to Abe, parish of Kilmarnock, 
September 6, 1633. 

David Gemmill, preacher of God's religion at the Kirk of 
Mearn at Mirns, October 8, 1651. 

David Gemmill, bonnet-maker in Kilmarnock, January 
17, 1765. 

Elson Gemmill, spouse to Hugh Brown, September 8, 

David Gemmill, sailor in Irving, December 16, 1734. 

George Gemmill, burgess of Glasgow, September, 1684. 

James Gemmill, elder in Blackwood parish of Kilmarn- 
ock, March 11, 1616. 

James Gemmill, burgess of Irving, October 25, 1674. 

James Gemmill, merchant in Glasgow, April 5, 1721. 

James Gemmill, land laborer, in Langside, Sept., 1747. 

Jonet relict to Archibald Gemmill. 

John Gemmill, cutter in Kilmarnock. 

Jonet spouse to Thomas Gemmill. 

Jonet, lawful daughter of Anrew Gemmill. 

Katherine Gemmill, servitor to Jonet Gemmill. 

Margaret Gemmill, spouse to Henry Smith. 

Page Sixteen 

Margaret Gemmill, relict to James Gemmill. 

Marion spouse to Matthew. 

Peter Gemmill, balie of Glasgow. 

Kobert Gemmill, elder in Fymick. 

Thomas Gemmill, weaver in Glasgow. 

William Gemmil, shipmaster in Irving. 

William Gemmill, tailor in Blith. 

Zachariah Gemmill, writer in Irving. 

James Gemmill, tobacconist in Glasgow. 
The complete list contains the names of over three hundred 

Most of the Gemmills who came to America as earlv settlers, 
found their homes in York County, Pennsylvania, but some of 
them located in Maryland, others in Connecticut, some in Massa- 
chusetts, and some in New Hampshire. There is an old cemetery 
in York County, Pennsylvania, wherein the Gemmills of several 
generations were buried. It is known as Downing's Graveyard. 
Some of the markers in this cemetery show that Gemmills were 
buried here one hundred and twenty-six years ago. This burying 
ground, however, was abandoned long ago and most of the 
markers had, until recently, fallen upon the unkept graves. 
About two years ago, several members of thea Gemmill family, 
led by John M. Gemmill of Laurel, York County, Pennsylvania, 
gathered up the broken markers and removed them to a 
chartered cemetery not far away. Among the markers thus 
fallen was one over the grave of Hannah Gemmill, my grand- 
mother and the first wife of James Gemmill. She died in 1837. 

In this book I have not attempted to trace our family, by di- 
rect line through several generations in Scotland, but have 
aimed only to show a connection between the Gemmills of Scot- 
land and our family in America. To this end I have begun with 
William Gemmill who was born in Irvine, and was the father of 
six generations in America. 

Page Seventeen 






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WILLIAM GEMMILL was born in Irvine, Scotland, in 1722. 
He emigrated to America and settled in East Hopewell Town- 
ship, York County, Pennsylvania, in 1745. His wife was Jannett 
Gemmill, whom he married in Scotland. He served as Lieutenant 
in the French and Indian War, and as a Major in the War of 
the Revolution. He was both a farmer and a merchant, and for 
several years was County Commissioner of York County, Penn- 
sylvania, during which time he assisted in building the first 
county jail. 

Several children were born to this marriage. They were: 
John, David, Ann, Margaret, William, James and Robert. 

He had a brother Zachariah Gemmill, who was also born in 
Irvine, Scotland, in 1730. This Zachariah Gemmill was a writer 
(lawyer) and achieved distinction in his day. It is probable that 
the ancestral Scottish home of William and Zachariah was on a 
narrow strip of sandy ground near the shores of Irvine, called 
Bogside. This land is now used for a golf course. 

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Page Nineteen 

In the Scottish Antiquary, Vol. Ill, 1893, there appears this 
entry : 

"1769, January 27, William Gemmill of Bogside, 
merchant in London, served heir-general to his grand- 
father Zachariah Gemmill, writer in Irvine." 
Zachariah had a son who became widely known as Captain 
Hugh Gemmill. He was a famous, roving sea captain, and at 
one time during our troubles with England, his vessel was seized 
and held on the charge of carrying contraband goods. At the 
close of the war he filed a claim for damages against England, 
and this was later settled by an award being made to him. He 
died November 29, 1822, and is buried in New Castle County, 
Delaware. On his grave is the following inscription : 

"Graveyard of Christiana Presbyterian Church, 
founded 1738. Captain Hugh Gemmill died November 
29, 1822, age 55 years, 11 months and 4 days. 

Jane Gemmill, his wife, died August 17, 1826, age 55 
years, 9 months." 
Some of the direct descendants of this Captain Hugh Gemmill 
live in Baltimore. Among them is Mrs. Percy G. Skirven, a 

daughter of James Sutton Gemmill of Kent County, Delaware, 
and the granddaughter of William McBride Gemmill of New 
Castle, Delaware. 

A brother of William and Zachariah, was named John. He 
came to America in 1749 and settled in Boston. This John had 




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Page Twenty 

two sous, one of whom was bom in Boston in 1750, and was after- 
wards a member of the Boston Tea Party. The other married 
Thankful Keys, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. 

The youngest son of William and Jannett was born in 1763, 
and was always known as Major Robert Gemmill. It is probable 
that he served, when very young, in the Revolutionary War. 

The eldest son of William and Jannett was named John, and 
he was my great great grandfather. William died March 2, 1789, 
near his original home in York County, and left a will dated 
December 2, 1768. This will was never probated, for the reason 
that two of his children, Margaret and William, died before the 
death of the testator, and his wife, Janet, died two weeks after 
the death of her husband. The will was set aside by agreement of 
the other heirs. The will is as follows: 

"In the name of God Amen this Second Day of 
December in the year of our Lord one thousand and seven 
hundred and sixty Eight, I William Gemmill in Hope- 
well township, York County and province of Pennsyl- 
vania being weak and tender of body but of perfect mind 
and memory thanks be given unto God therefore calling 
unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it 
is appointed for all men once to die Do make and or- 
dain this my last Will and testament that is to say 
principaly and first of all I give and Recommend my soul 
unto the hand of the almighty God that gave it and my 
body I recommend to the earth to be buried in a decent 
Christian manner at the Descrestion of my friends noth- 
ing doubting but at the general Resurrection I shall re- 
ceive the Sam againe by the mighty powr of God and 
touching such Worldly Estate wherewith it heath pleased 
God to bless me in this life I give Demise and Dispose of 
the same in the following manner and form. 

Imprimis I give and bequeath unto my well beloved 

' S "*•' 5--, "■"•*«"■ 

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Page Twenty-one 

son John Genimill the sum of twenty-five pounds Pennsyl- 
vania currency to be took out of my Estate real and per- 
sonal and no more. 

Secondly I bequeath unto my beloved wife Gennat 
Gemmill one seventh part of my Estate real and personal 
to be equally Divided betwixt her and the rest of my un- 
married Children as hereafter followeth that is to say 
thirdly one seventh part Equal with my wife to my well 
beloved Daughter margrat gammill out of my Estate 
Real and Personal and likewise forthley one seventh part 
to my well beloved son David Gammill out of my Estate 
Eeal and personal and likewise fiftkty one seventh part of 
my Estate real and personal unto my well beloved 
Daughter ann gemmill sixtly one Seventh part unto my 
well beloved son William Gemmill of my estate real and 
personal Seventhly one Seventh part of my Estate real 
and personal unto my well beloved Son James Gemmill 
Eightly the seventh part of my Estate real and 
personal unto my well beloved son Robert Gemmill 
ninthly I authorse and allow that three honnast and re- 
putibale men shall be indaferintly Chosen by the legaties 
or there representees for to vallue and praise all my 
lands and other personnall Estate and when Said 
plantations are vallued as above mentioned I allow my 
well beloved wife Gennet gemmill to have her first choice 
Eather in money or land for her Seventh Share tenthly I 
allow all when my plantations are justly vallued as above 
ordered that my son David Gembill Shall have his first 
Choise of said pantations and my son William to have the 
Second Choise and my son James to have the third and 
my son robert the forth which lands are acording to 
vallue to be vallued in Each ones Seventh Share as far 
as they are vallued by the men indifrontly to them and 
their heirs for Ever and If aney of my lands Remain un- 
chosen after my four sons David William James and 
robert have taken there choice my Daughters margaret 
and ann may choice acording to there Eage. 

Page Tvxenty-tivo 

Eliventhlie I Do Hereby nominate and apoint my well 
beloved wife Gennet Gemmill and my son David Gemmill 
to be my only Execcotors or admns of this my last will 
and testnient hereby revoking and disannul all and every 
others forms etastment wills and legacises and bequith- 
ments and Executuers by me aney wise before named 
willed I bequithed ratifiy and confirming this and no 
other to be my last will and testment in Witness Where- 
of I have hereunto Set my hand and Seal the day and 
year above written 

Signed sealed published and dilivered in 
the presents of us who have hearunto 

subscribed our names in the presence of the testator 

William Gemmill Seal 
Archibald White 
Edward Manifold 
David Griffith" 
Janet Gemmill, the wife of William, also left a Will, which 

was filed for probate in York County on March 25, 1889. The 

Will is as follows: 

"IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN the tenth day of 
March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven Hun- 
dred and Eighty nine I Janit Gemmill of Hopewell 
Township in the county of York in the State of Penn- 
sylvania being very sick and weak in Body but of per- 
fect mind and memory and calling to mind the mortality 
of my body and that it is appointed unto all men once to 
die Do make and publish this my last Will and Testa- 
ment in maner and form following Viz first I Resign my 


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Page Twenty-three 

soul to god who gave it and my body to the Earth to be 
buried in a Decent and Christian manner at the Dis- 
creation of my Evecutors and as to such worldly Estate 
as it hath pleased God to bless me with I give and be- 
queath in the following manner I That is to say 

Imprimes I give and bequeath to my son John Gem- 
mill one pound lawful money of Pennsylvania. 

Item I give and bequeath to my son David Gemmill 
the sum of one pound lawful of Pensylvania. 

Item I give and bequeath to my Daughter Ann the 
wife of David Weylie the like sum of one pound 

Item I give and bequeath to my son James Gemmill 
the like sum of one pound 

Item I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter 

Margaret the Daughter of my son John Gemmill the sum 
of twenty pounds lawful money of Pensylvania. 

Item I give and bequeath to my grand son William 
Gemmill the son of my son John the like sum of twenty 

Item I give and bequeath to each of my said son Johns 

other children born by his first wife the sum of fifteen 

pounds like lawful money aforesaid 

Item I give and bequeath to my grand daughter Janet 

Weylie the Daughter of David Weylie the sum of five 

pounds which several sums so willd to my grand children 

to be collected out of my out standing Debts as soon 

after my Decease as possible and to be lent out to In- 

terst untill they are at lawfull age 

Item I give and bequeath to my son Robert Gemmill 

all and singular the Residue of my estate. 

And I Do hereby authorize constitute and appoint my 

trusty friend Andrew Finley and my son Robert Gemmill 

to be the Executors of this last will and testament and 

I do hereby revoke and Disanull all former will or be- 

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Page Twenty-four 

quasts niede by me and Do hereby publish and Declair 
this and no other to be my last Will and Testament wit- 
ness my hand and seal the day and year first above writ- 
ten in presence of us 
Alex Turner her 

Alexan Downing Janet X Gemmill (Seal) 

This will was filed and probated at York, March 25, 
It will be noticed how uncertain is the spelling of the names. 
The wife's name is spelled Gennat Gennet, Genat, Janet, Janit 
and on her tombstone it is spelled Jannette, while Gemmill is 
spelled in as many different ways. 

On the markers in the old Downings Gravevard are the fol- 
lowing inscriptions: 

In memory of William Gemmill, who departed this life Feb. 
28, 1789. Aged 67 years." 

"In memory of Jennette Gemmill who departed this life 
March 14th, 1789, A. D. Aged 64 years." 


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Page Ttventy-fi've 

The following is part of an interesting Deed from Thomas 
Penn and Richard Penn, grandsons of William Penn, who at the 
time in question were the sole proprietors of all the land along 
the Delaware River in the State of Pennsylvania. The grantee 
is William Gammill, who was probably the son of William and 
Jennette Gemmill, the first of the Gemmill line in York County, 
Pennsylvania : 

"DEED from, 

Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Esquires, 

William Gamble alias Gammill. 
Dated, January 27, 1767. The seventh year of the 
Reign of King George the Third. 
Warrant dated the 16th day of December, 1757. 
True and absolute Proprietaries and Governors in Chief 
of the Province of Pennsylvania, and Counties of New 
Castle, Kent and Sussex, upon Deleware. To all unto 
whom these Presents shall come. Greeting! WHERE- 
AS, In pursuance of a warrant dated the sixteenth day 
of December, 1757, there was surveyed unto William 
Gamble alias William Gammill a certain tract of land 
called Gammels Chance Situated in Shrewsbury Town- 


^^<1 « "life. 

Page Twenty-six 

ship, York County, Beginning at a Chestnut Three thence 
by Barrens and Vacant land South twenty two degrees 
West seventy two perches to a stone and South Seventy 
five degrees East Forty six perches to a marked Chestnut 
oak thence by Alexander Wallaces North seven degrees 
East fifty two perches to a Chestnut oak and South 
seventy five degrees East one hundred and twenty four 
perches to a marked black oak, thence by Thomas Curries 
land North thirty-six degrees thirty minutes West forty 
seven perches to a Hickory Tree and North fifty eight 
degrees East one hundred and forty nine perches to a 
marked white oak thence by Barrens North Forty one 
perches to a past and South Sixty eight degrees West 
Two hundred & sixty one perches to the place of begin- 
ning Containing ninety two acres and a half and 
allowances of six & Cent for Roads &c. As by the said 
Warrant and Survey remaining in the Surveyor Generals 
Office and from thence Certified into our Secretaries 
office more fully appear. 
Consideration Fourteen pounds and Seven Shillings. 

I^ilfe^ '-.*fv. ■ , 4li*i 

Page Twenty-seven 

The following is the written consent of the heirs of certain 
deceased Gemmills given in 1915 to remove the markers and head- 
stones from the old Downing Gravevard to the cemetery at Bound 

WHEBEAS, William Gemmill, Jennette Gemmill, 
John Gemmill, his first wife Agnes and his second wife 
Elizabeth, and John Gemmill, have been interred at 
Downing's Gravevard, and there has been erected at the 
graves of the above named persons tombstones, slab and 
markers containing the following, to-wit : 

William Gemmill departed this life February, 
1789, age 67 years; Jennette Gemmill departed this 
life March, 1789, age 64 years; James Gemmill de- 
parted this life, A.D. 1788, age 37 years; and several 
others by the name of Gemmill, over whose graves 
are field stones containing initials only. 
AND WHEBEAS, the said tombstones, slabs and 
markers are liable to become broken, delapidated and de- 
stroyed if left to remain where they are now erected, at a 
place never visited by any of the kindred. 



Sv S 

Page Twenty-eight 



I » 

NOW in order to further perpetuate the memory of 
said deceased persons and to preserve and care for said 
tombstones, slabs and markers, it is deemed advisable to 
have said tombstones, slabs and markers removed and 
erected in the Bound Hill Cemetery, where the same will 
be preserved and taken care of forever. Other slabs are 
to be erected at the graves of said deceased persons con- 
taining suitable lettering in lieu of the tombstones, slabs 
and markers removed. 

We the undersigned, heirs and legal descendants of 
the above named persons now deceased, do hereby con- 
sent and agree that said tombstones, slabs and markers 
be removed from the Downing Graveyard and erected in 
Round Hill cemetery, and that other slabs be erected at 
the graves of said descedents. 

It is further desired that this agreement be inscribed 
upon the records of the Round Hill Cemetery Association. 

(Signed) John McAllister Gem mill." 

Page Twenty-nine 








JOHN GEMMILL, the oldest son of William and Janet, was 
born in York County, Pennsylvania, in 1745. He first married 
Agnes Wallace, who bore him eight children. They were 
Margaret, William, James, Janet, John David, Agnes and Ann. 
His second wife was Elizabeth, with whom he had four children. 
They were Mary, Jean, Robert and Sarah. It is said that both 
he and his sons were very large men. 

He died in 1798 and was buried in Downing Cemetery in York 
County. On the marker over his grave is the following in- 
scription : 

u In memory of John Gemmill, born in 1745, died in 
In that cemetery lie buried three of his brothers, David, 
James and Robert. The markers over their graves have the fol- 
lowing inscriptions: 

"In memory of David Gambel and Janet, his wife, 
who died December 25, 1839, A. M., in the eighty-seven 
vear of her life." 

Page Thirty-one 

This David Gemmill (spelled Gambel) is mentioned in his 
father's will as "David Gammill." He was a soldier in the Revo- 

On another marker over the fourth son of William and 
Jennette is the following inscription : 

"In memory of James Gemmill, who departed this life 
on July 23, 1799, at the age of thirty-seven years." 
On the marker over the grave of Robert, the fifth son of 
William and Jennette, is the following inscription: 

"In memory of Major Robert Gemmill, of East Hope- 
well Township, who departed this life on May 11, 1846, 
A. D., at the age of eighty-four years." 
This Major Robert Gemmill was an officer in the War of 1812. 
When John Gemmill died in 1798, he left a will, which was 
probated in York County, Pennsylvania, on March 5, 1798. It 
is as follows: 

"I, John Gemmill, on 21st day of Dec. 1796, being 
very sick and weak of body, but of perfect mind and 
memory do will and bequeath my property as follows, 
viz, After payment of my debts, First I give and bequeath 



i — 

3 %\A V 

Page Thirty-two 

to my beloved daughter Margaret Collins 25 lbs. in cur- 
rency to be paid in one year after my decease. 2nd to 
my beloved son William 35 lbs. to be paid in one year 
after my decease. 3d to James the sum of 151 lbs. one 
year after my decease, to Jannet Allison 25 lbs. 1 year 
after my decease. Also to my beloved wife the mare; 
also her saddle and bridle, her choice of one of my cows, 
also one bed and bedding: also she is to have equal share 
of my estate, real and personal with the remainder of my 
children hereafter mentioned, that is to say — John, 
David, Agnes, Ann, Elizabeth, Mary Jean, Eobert and 
Sarah, provided that she continues my widow until she 
assists in raising my children until they become of full 
age; but if she marries with any man before the children 
are raised, she is to move off the plantation whereon I 
now reside, and to have no share or part of the value of 
said plantation. 

Moreover, it is my disire that if the colt lives that the 
mare is with that my wife gets after my decease it shall 
suck the mare until the 1st of Sept. and then be sold to 

Page Thirty-three 

the best advantage and the price of said colt be paid to 
my son John. As also it is my desire that the two fol- 
lowing tracts of land be set up to public sale after my de- 
cease and the valuation be put to the best use aforesaid, 
viz, a tract of land in Hopewell tw'p containing 105 
acres adjoining lands of Wm. Edgar and John Manifold 
and others: the other tract lying in Fawn tw'p contain- 
ing 40 acres adjoining lands of Joseph Mitchell and 
others. Also it is my desire that the personal property 
shall after my decease be put to public sale and sold to 
the best advantage, and the valuation of same be put to 
the use aforesaid, excepting such personal property that 
I allow to be reserved to carrv on the farm to raise the 
children : viz, the largest horse, one plow and harrow and 
two pair of horse gears. As also it is my will and desire 
that the plantation that I now reside on is not to be put 






K — 


■ , ; - 


Page Thirty-four 

to public sale until my children is all raised to full age, 

for it is my desire that my children aforesaid shall have 

the benefit of said planation; to be raised in a genteel 

manner and to have schooling such as my other children 

had that is married, if possible: and after my children 

are all raised to full age, it is my desire that the said 

plantation be put up to public sale and sold to the best 

advantage and the valuation thereof to be put to the use 

aforesaid: and also I do hereby constitute and appoint 

my loving wife, Elizabeth Gemmill and John Kelly my 

trusty friend my executors also my loving brother 

Eobert Guardian of my minor children until they become 

of age: to see they have common schooling and to be 

taken care of according to law an dmy desire in this will. 

John Gemmill. 
Witness — John Gordon 

Ja S . McCall 1336472 

Hugh King 

Robert Gemmill appeared and with up- 
lifted hand swore he heard the said 
John Gemmill dictate the above will to 
John Gordon which was correctly put 
in working by said Gordon and after- 
ward duly signed. 

Page Thirty-five 


* / 






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WILLIAM GEMMILL, the oldest son of John and Agnes, 
was my great grandfather. He was born in York County, 
August 31, 1771, and was married August 28, 1794, to Martha 
Edie, who was born August 4, 1774. To this union were born 
ten children. There were John, who was born July 14, 1795, 
and who served in the war of 1812; Mary, born 1787; William, 
born October 7, 1789; James, my grandfather, born February 
13, 1800; Agnes, born August 13, 1801; Martha, born June 20, 
1803; David born February 21, 1805; Robert born August 17, 
1807; Benjamin, August 4, 1809; and Margaret, July 11, 1811. 

William died August 5, 1849, and his wife, Martha, died June 
8, 1839. Both are buried in the cemetery of Center Church, 
Fawn Township, York County, Pennsylvania. He was a farmer 
and is said to have been small of stature, while some of his sons 
were of unusual size. 

Page Thirty-seven 

James Gem mill 

Age 56 








JAMES GEMMILL, my grandfather, was born in York Coun- 
ty, Pennsylvania, February 13, 1800. He first married Hannah 
Street, and later married Ann Norris. From the first union 
were born William, Thomas, Martha and Sarah. From the 
second marriage were born : Robert, John, Wylie and Mary. 
Nearly all of James' life was spent upon the farm. He was a 
very large man, much of the time weighing over three hundred 
pounds. He was commonly known throughout the neighbor- 
hood as ''Big Jimmy." 

WILLIAM GEMMILL, eldest brother of James, had four 
children: John, who was a ranchman in California; Frank, who 
lived in Indiana and made a fortune in natural gas; Mary Jane, 
who married McCall Andrews; and Maggie, who married James 
Lowe who fought with McGregor at Gettysburg. 

ROBERT GEMMILL, brother of James, had a son John G. 
Gemmill who still lives in Stewartsville, Pa. 

BENJAMIN GEMMILL, the youngest brother of James, was 
born August 1, 1809. He had five children, William, Lou, 
Margaret, Ella and John B. 

Page Thirty-nine 

WILLIAM, the oldest son, went to South Dakota in an early 
day and had an eye shot out in a scrimmage with the Indians. 
The last known of him he was in the State of Washington. 

LOU married Joseph Anderson and lived at Stewartstown, 
Pa. She is now dead. 

MARGARET married Philip Hammond and still lives at 
Stewartstown, Pa. 

ELLA married John R. Stansburry and lived until her death 
upon the old home place at New Port, Pa. 

JOHN BROWN GEMMILL, the youngest son of Benjamin, 
was born in 1837 and died in 1914. 

He was a farmer and merchant and served four years in the 
Pennsylvania Legislature. 

He had four children : 

MILTON CRAWFORD GEMMILL who was born in 1862 
and now lives in Baltimore, Md. He is married, is a traveling 
salesman and has four children. 

WILLIAM BRUCE GEMMILL, born in 1864. He is a lawyer 
in York, Pa., and was for a time District Attorney of York 

BENJAMIN McKEE GEMMILL, born in 1866. He is a 
Presbyterian minister living at Ivyland, Pa. He has five children. 

ELLIS HALDANE GEMMILL, born September 30, 1868. 
He is married and lives in Chicago, 111., and is employed as 
manager for the Dryden Rubber Co. He has one son Ellis 
Hughes Gemmill who is now a Freshman in the College of En- 
gineering of Northwestern University. 

Page Forty 

Age 42 

William Gem mill 




WILLIAM GEMMILL, my father, was born in Chanisford, 
York County, Pennsylvania, September 18, 182G. He was edu- 
cated in the common schools and in an academy at York. He 
worked on a farm in his boyhood and when grown to young man- 
hood taught school in the winter. In 1849, he was chosen princi- 
pal of the Wrightsville York County Public Schools. It was 
here he met Susan A. Brenner, and they were married December 
24, 1850. The next two years he taught school in the winter and 
worked on a farm in the summer. In 1851, he made an extended 
trip into Massachusetts, working in the harvest fields as an ex- 
pert grain cradler. Their first child. James, was born in the 
spring of 1852, and a few weeks thereafter, the family started 
for the unknown West. The only available transportation at 
that time, was by boat down the Ohio, and up the Mississippi 
Rivers. So they journeyed. The trip was long and wearisome. 
Baby James fell ill on the way, and this added to their distress. 
They left the boat at Savanna, Illinois, and made their way, with 
difficulty, to Freeport, where shortly thereafter James grew 
worse and died. Work was obtained grading the right of way 
of the Illinois Central Railroad which was then being con- 
structed between Rockford and Freeport. Soon, however, the 
family moved to a farm south of Freeport, and a few years later 
to a farm near Shannan, Illinois, upon which the family lived for 
over forty years. For many years he had held the office of school 
trustee and township assessor. 

Page Forty-one 

My father was a small man, seldom, if ever, weighing over 
one hundred and forty pounds. This may be, in part, accounted 
for by a serious injury which he sustained to his spine when a 
young man. All of his sons have at some time during their lives 
weighed over two hundred pounds. His habits were unusually 
abstemious. His early religious training was in the Presbyterian 
church, but when he moved West he joined the Methodist church, 
and remained a member, and trustee of that church until his 
death. I think no man was ever more scrupulously honest than 
he. He would yield a just claim of his own, rather than dispute 
it with another. He seldom laid down a rule of conduct for his 
children to follow. I do not remember that he ever told us not 
to do any of the things which are commonly regarded as im- 
moral, but no one misunderstood his wish. He was at times 
nervous and petulant, due to physical ailments, but he never 
meant to be unjust. He always enjoyed the full confidence of 
the community, which for twenty-five years annually chose him 
to fix the values of all its assessable property for purposes of 
taxation. He died in Shannon, Illinois, November 24, 1904, and 
is buried in the Dunkard Cemetery located within the village. 

Page Forty-two 

Susan A. Gem mill 
Age 80 

SUSAN A. GEMMILL, my mother, was born September 13, 
1829, in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. Her father was Adam 
Brenner. He was of the fourth generation of Brenners in 
America. In September, 1737, John Deitrich Brenner, a native 
of Switzerland, sailed from Botterdam on the good ship "Charm- 
ing Nancy," and landed in Philadelphia on October 8, 1737. He 
was one of the first of a band of exiles who fled his native land 
to escape religious persecution. He was followed to America a 
few years later by other members of his family, among them 
Simeon, Hans, George and Adam, all of whom arrived from 
Switzerland on the ship Beulah in 1752, and Daniel Brenner who 
arrived in Philadelphia from Switzerland in 1753. In 1740, John 
Deitrich Brenner moved into Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 
and some members of the family have lived in that county ever 


~\ /1r II ,• 

Page Forty-three 

Susan Brenner was married to William Gemmill at Wrights- 
ville, December 24, 1850, and came with him to Illinois in 1852. 
The family first lived in Freeport and a little later moved upon 
a farm two miles south of town. The third year after their 
arrival they moved twelve miles southwest of Freeport upon the 
prairie. Here they bought a farm. At that time the prairie ex- 
tended from the farm in broad expanse, in every direction and 
was only broken, here and there, by the cottages of a few early 
settlers. It was upon this farm that twelve children were born, 
and most of their early lives spent. 

In addition to the usual household cares, mother performed 
a thousand other tasks, which in those days fell to the lot of the 
wife of a pioneer. The cows were to be milked twice a day, the 
calves to be fed, the milk to be strained, the cream to be skimmed, 
the butter to be churned, the chickens to be fed and the eggs to 
be gathered. This was the work of the woman, and all of it and 
much more fell daily to her lot. To the ordinary woman, this, 
with the care of nine or ten children, would seem to have been 
sufficient, but not so for her. When her sister-in-law, Sarah, died 
in 1863, leaving two little boys, they were introduced into our 




*• ■■■* \'\ vuiiX "I w/M ll/wJg&fit<i\~&{ >. 


Page Forty-four 

home and became a part of our family; and when a few years 
later, her sister Ann died, leaving two baby girls, they were in- 
stalled for a time with the rest of us, receiving the same care. 
Still another little orphan girl was taken into our home, where 
she remained until grown to womanhood. 

The story of such a life can never be written. For it never 
occurred to her to keep a record of the long, terrible nights, 
when the lightning flashed, the thunder roared and the prairie 
was storm swept, and she with several small children waited in 
terror for the approach of day, or of those days and nights of 
trembling, anxious waiting at the bedside of a sick and some- 
times dying babe, when no doctor was near, and all friends were 
far away. Nor has any record been kept of her ten thousand 
self-denials, that the children might be fed and clothed and 
schooled. Like her ancient fathers, her religion is her strongest 
motive power. Her service to the church is her constant joy. 
Even now at eighty-seven, she sews and quilts, and quilts and 
sews the long day through, that the church's needs may be sup- 
plied. Her thoughts are always with the preacher, the village 
church, and those who worship there. Nothing in the changing 
of the years has shaken her faith or warped her judgment. 

To this marriage of William and Susan there were born 
fourteen children : James, Calvin W., Emma J., Laura, Ida, 
Howard S., William N., Carrie I., Etta A., Harvey, Leulla M., 
John A., Susan and Harry E. Of this number, James, Laura, 
Ida, Harvey and Susan died in infancy. 

Page Forty-five 

*k /■*■■• 

Jf. %k.. 

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My uncle, THOMAS S. GEMMILL, was born in York County, 
Pennsylvania, January 21, 1830, and died in Freeport, Illinois, 
May 6, 1910. He was first married May 10, 1860, to Kachael 
Elizabeth Gailey, and they moved to Freeport, Illinois, the same 
year. They had one child Laura who was born May 28, 1861. 
She is now married to Herbert Drake and lives in Los Angeles, 
California. Mrs. Gemmill died in Freeport, November 10, 1861. 
Thomas was married to Margaret Beard, October 7, 1869. She 
still lives at Freeport, Illinois. To the second marriage two 
children were born, Charles, who died at an early age, and 
Elizabeth who was born August 1, 1877, and who now lives with 
her mother in Freeport. Thomas served as assistant Postmaster 
of Freeport, for over forty years. Much of that time having 
almost exclusive charge of the office. He was a staunch member 
and active worker in the Presbyterian church. 

My aunt, MARTHA GEMMILL, was born in York County, 
Pennsylvania, February 10, 1832. When a young woman she 
moved to Illinois and lived for many years in our family. She 
was married to Alfred Parkhurst, who died several years ago. 
They had several children, all of whom died in infancy. Martha 
still lives in Rockton, Illinois. 

My aunt, SARAH GEMMILL, was born in November, 1833, 
in York County, Pennsylvania. She early moved to Illinois and 
was married to William D. Gemmill, a second cousin. She died 
February 11, 1863. They had two children, Wesley, born Novem- 
ber 4, 1857. He is married and has eight children and four 
grandchildren. He lives at Windsor, Pennsylvania, where he is 
Principal of the Schools. Lincoln, is married and lives in 
Savonburg, Kansas. He is a farmer and has five children. 
William D. Gemmill was a soldier in the Rebellion and fought 
with Grant at Champion Hill and Shiloh. 


Page Forty-seven 

My uncle, EOBERT S. GEMMILL, was born in York County, 
in 1840. He was married September 5, 1861, to Margaret I. 
Andrews. They had nine children, Franklin, Porter Gemmill, 
now game warden of Pennsylvania; James N. Gemmill, now 
principal of the Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, public schools; Robert 
A. Gemmill, farmer, Austin, Minnesota; Mary L., married to 
Ellsworth Homer of York, Pennsylvania; Hugh L. Gemmill, 
machinist, York, Pennsylvania ; William W. Gemmill, now de- 
ceased (left wife and five children) ; Anna P., married Robert 
Gerber, machinist, York, Pennsylvania; Flora L. Gemmill (now 
deceased) was a trained nurse in Maryland, Southern Homeo- 
pathic Hospital. 

My uncle, JOSEPH WILEY GEMMILL, was born in York 
County, Pennsylvania, in 1842, and married Emma Good in 1871. 
They had five children — Lottie, who married K. E. Beard of 
Brogueville, Pennsylvania; Lattimer C, who is now a retired 
farmer of Broqueville, Pennsylvania ; Sallie, who married Chester 
Saylor of Felton, Pennsylvania; May, who married Roy Chubb, 
and lives in York, Pennsylvania; William W., who now lives on 
the old family homestead at Brogueville, Pennsylvania. 

My uncle, JOHN V. GEMMILL, was born in York County, 
Pennsylvania, in 1843, and was twice married, first to Alice 
Murphy, in 1868. They had three children — John R. Gemmill, 
who graduated from Johns Hopkins University, and is now asso- 
ciated with a bonding house in Denver, Colorado ; William Wiley 
Gemmill, a merchant in Sunnyburn, York County, Pennsylvania; 
Bertha, now single, lives with her brother, William Wiley. His 
second marriage was to Mary Gordon in 1881. From this mar- 
riage five children were born. They are now scattered over the 

My aunt, MARY JANE GEMMILL, was born in 1844, and 
was married in 1861 to Hugh L. Andrews. They had six children, 
Robert G., merchant, York, Pennsylvania; John H., tobaccoist, 
Baltimore, Md. ; William W., deceased; Laura, deceased; Minnie 
married, lives in Washington, D. C. ; Anna, Insane Asylum, 
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

All of my uncles and aunts on my father's side are now dead 
except Martha. 

Page Forty-eight 

Edna E. Gbmmill 




The writer, WILLIAM N. GEMMILL, was born on the home 
farm near Shannon, December 29, 1860. I attended the public 
schools, the high school of Shannon, and Cornell College, from 
which I graduated in 1886. After graduation I was principal of 
the public schools of Rockford, Iowa, and later superintendent 
of the public schools of Marion, Iowa. In 1891, I entered North- 
western University Law School, from which I graduated in 1892, 
and was admitted to the Bar. I practiced law in Chicago until 
1906, when I was elected Judge of the Municipal Court, and re- 
elected to the same position in 1912, and still hold that office. 
In 1912, I received the degree of Doctor of Laws from the Chi- 
cago Law School, and in 1916, I received the same degree from 
Cornell College. I was married December 28, 1893, to Edna E. 
Billings of Rockford, Iowa. We have two children, Jeanette, 
born April 7, 1895, and graduated from Northwestern University 
in 1916; she now lives at home. William B., born April 20, 1898, 
and now a sophomore in the University of Chicago. 

Page Forty-nine 

EDNA ESTELLE BILLINGS, was born in Rockford, 
Iowa, March 13, 1873. Her father is Edward Billings, who 
was born November 3, 1847, in Lancaster, Massachusetts. He 
conies from a long line of New England ancestry, dating 
back to the Revolution. In 1868, he moved to Iowa, where he 
engaged for a time in farming, and later entered the banking 
business, from which he retired a few years ago. He now lives 
in Chicago. Her mother, before her marriage, was Augusta A. 
Davis. She was born November 9, 1848, in St. Albans, Maine. 
Her grandfather was a soldier in the War of 1812. Mrs. Gemmill 
was a pupil in the Rockford High School from 1886 to 1889, 
while I was principal of the school. In 1889, she entered Cornell 
College, from which she graduated in 1893, with the degree of 
A. B. We were married December 28, 1893. 

Page Fifty 

William Billings Gem mill 

Jeanette Billings Gem mill 

CALVIN WYLIE GEMMILL was born June 4, 1853, in Free- 
port Illinois. He was educated in the country schools, the high 
school of Shannon, Mt. Morris Seminary and the Illinois State 
Normal School at Bloomington. He moved to Canton, South 
Dakota, in the eighties and has resided there ever since. He is 
married and has two children, Ruth who lives in Washington, 
D. C, and John who is agent for the Pennsylvania Rubber Com- 
pany in Chicago, Illinois. During his entire residence in Da- 
kota, he has been engaged in the grain and stock business. For 
several years he was President of the Board of Education of 
Canton, and for one term was a member of the State Senate 
of South Dakota. 

r f 


Page Fifty-one 

EMMA JANE GEMMILL was born September 15, 1855, upon 
the home farm near Shannon. After attending the public school, 
she spent some time at Mt. Morris Seminary, and later was mar- 
ried to Andrew S. Dodds. They lived in Rock Valley, Iowa, for a 
number of years, and afterward moved to Pipestone, Minnesota, 
where they lived until her death, in 11)15. They had three child- 
ren, Mabell, who is married to Ole Stansvad and lives at Ren- 
ville, Minnesota; Ray, who is married and lives at Aberdeen, 
South Dakota ; and Stella, who is single and lives at Minot, 
North Dakota. 

HOWARD S. GEMMILL was bom upon the home farm on 

June 11, 1859. He attended the country school, the high school at 
Shannon, and Cornell College, from which he graduated in 1886. 
Thereafter he was superintendent of the public schools of Sac 
City and Emmetsburg, Iowa. In 1894, he graduated from the 
Law Department of Northwestern University and was admitted 
to the Bar of Illinois. He was married to Nellie Pierson and 
they lived together at Wilmette, Illinois, until her death in 1915. 
He has two children, Glenn Gemmill, who is married and is in 
the automobile business at Wheeling, Illinois, and Helen, who 
recently graduated from Northwestern University, and now lives 
with her father at Wilmette. He was City Magistrate of his 
home town of Wilmette for several years, and is now a practic- 
ing attorney in Chicago. 

CARRIE I. GEMMILL was born December 19, 1S62. She at- 
tended the public schools, the Shannon High School and Cornell 
College. She is married to Henry Osborn, and lives in Shannon, 
Illinois. They have one child, Don Osborn, who is married and 
lives at Shannon. 

ETTA A. GEMMILL was born February 1, 1866. She attended 
the public schools, the high school of Shannon, and Cornell Col- 
lege. She was married to Henry Hubbard, who for twenty-four 
years has been County Clerk of Rock Island County, Illinois. 
They live in Rock Island and have three children, Clifford, who 
recently graduated from the Law Department of Northwestern 
University, and is a practicing attorney at Rock Island; Lois, 
who is married to Leonard Neighbour and lives in Moline, Illi- 
nois; and Marion, who lives with her parents in Rock Island. 

Page Fifty-two 

LUELLA M. GEMMILL was born June 28, 1867. She attended 
the public schools, the high school of Shannon and Cornell Col- 
lege. After teaching school for some time, she was married to 
Pitney Atkins, and they now live in Freeport, Illinois. They 
have two children, Eda, who lives at home, and Milo, who is now 
a student in the University of Illinois. 

JOHN A. GEMMILL was born on the farm April 14, 1869. 
He attended the public schools and Dixon College. He is mar- 
ried and lives at Racine, Wisconsin, where he is engaged in the 
insurance business. He has no children. 

HARRY E. GEMMILL was born February 19, 1872, and has 
always lived near the old homestead at Shannon. He attended 
the public schools and high school of Shannon. For many years 
he lived on the home farm, and is now in the farm implement 
business in Shannon. He holds the office of Township Assessor, 
which his father held for so many years. He is married and has 
one child, Lois, who lives at home. 


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Page Fijty-ihree 

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In order to know something of the country from which our 
forefathers came, I have decided to publish here excerpts from 
two letters recently received from Glasgow. The first one is by 
Mr. J. Leiper Gemmill of Dumbreck, dated November 25, 1916. 
It is as follows : 

"Dear Judge Gemmill : — 

You ask about Fenwick and Kilmarnock. Kilmarnock 
is about ten miles from the sea and is a busy country 
town of about 34,000 inhabitants, with a varied set of 
industries, engineering works, woolen and lace mills, etc. 
Its history dates to the beginning of Scottish history 
and it has always been an important town. Every town 
in Scotland has its parish and Kilmarnock parish was a 
very large one and originally included Fenwick district, 
but about 1600 Fenwick was formed into a separate 
parish with a church and school and parish government 
of its own. 


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Page Fifty-five 

Fenwick Village is about three and one-half miles 
northeast of Kilmarnock and lies just where the rich agri- 
cultural land running up from the coast line joins on to 
the higher ground and moorland. The western half of 
the parish is composed of small rich dairy farms of 100 
to 160 acres or so, highly cultivated, while the eastern 
half is mainly sheep farms, benty ground and moorland, 
with great stretches of mossliags and bog. The kind of 
place for the rearing of hardy men and women with 
strong frames and independent spirits; among the hills 
and upland districts in Scotland the men are mostly 
taller than those of the richer ground round the coasts, 
and in the Fenwick district it was the same, the men 
being mostly tall and strong, with light brown hair and 
ruddy complexion. 

I feel very sure that Fenwick was the main original 
home of the Gemmilis in Scotland, and that the bearers 
of the name at Dunlop, Irvine, Glasgow or elsewhere 
were offshoots. When there are three or four sons in a 
family some of them usually branch out and seek their 
fortunes in commerce or one of the professions. It was 
natural that some of them should find their way to 
Irvine, which was only ten miles off and a thriving sea- 
port, or to Glasgow, twenty-two miles off with all the at- 
tractions of a city, and later on others would find their 
way to Edinburgh and London. Two examples occur to 
me in the time of the poet Burns. A young lad Shaw, 
the son of a small farmer near Kilmarnock became Sir 
James Shaw, Lord Mayor of London, and a kind friend 
of the poet's family. Then "Bonnie Jean" Armour, the 
wife of the poet was the daughter of a stone mason at 
Mauchline, Ayreshire. Her brother, Robert Armour, 
found his way to London and died a wealthy merchant 
there. There are still about ten families of Gemmilis in 
the Fenwick district, farmers and merchants, etc., in a 
comfortable position in life, but I don't know that any of 
them still hold the original properties that belonged to 
their forefathers. Most of them have been sold and in 

Page Fijty-six 

others the land came to belong to daughters who married, 
and so the name changed. One of the largest Fenwick 
Gemmill owners had an only child, who married a Mr. 
M. Knight, from Irvine. They went to Edinburgh, and 
their line becoming extinct, their properties at Fenwick 
were all sold some years ago. The same has taken place 
all over Scotland with the mass of properties belonging 
to the middle classes. It is only in the case of great en- 
tailed estates now that few changes in ownership take 

After all, while Fenwick was an ideal district for 

hardy youths to be reared in, it was a quiet rural place 
with few outlets, and it was not unnatural that many of 
its sons should seek wider fields for their ambition. 

In the neighboring parish of Dunlop there is, however, 
one small farm called Templehouse that has from 1500 or 
thereabouts right down to the present been owned and 
occupied by the same family of Gemmills. It is an iso- 
lated small farm, and the original owner of it would in 
all probability be of the Fenwick Gemmills. A Mr. John 
Alexander Gemmill, Barrister, Ottawa, was of the 
Templehouse family. He was a very able and successful 
gentleman, and it was a great pleasure to me when on 
two occasions he came over to Scotland, to go round the 
old places where the name is familiar. He lived at 
Cliffside, Ottawa, but died in 1905, and I rather think 
his widow lives in Winnipeg. 

You ask about distinguished Gemmills. None of them 
seem to have risen to great heights, but on the other 
hand, so far as I can trace, none of them have sunk very 
deep, originally mostly comfortable farmers and small 
lairds. There have been many merchants, lawyers, 
bankers, clergymen, coal masters, civil engineers and 
doctors. One of the best known was the late Professor 
Samson Gemmill, M. D., of Glasgow University. He 
died three years ago, and was widely known and re- 
spected. Another well known name is my younger 
brother, Dr. James F. Gemmill, lecturer on embryology 
at Glasgow University, and of Zoology at Glasgow Train- 
Pa^ Fifty-seven 

ing College, a keen research worker who is devoting his 
life work wholly to science. Then a few years ago a 
Gemmill was Provost of Kilmarnock. A hundred years 
ago there was only one Gemmill in the Glasgow Di- 
rectory. Now there are fifty. This just indicates how 
the bearers of the name have increased and spread and 
come sufficiently to the front to be reckoned with. 

When I was last in Liverpool and London, I hap- 
pened to meet several in very good positions there, who 
originally came from Ayreshire. 

Yours very truly, 

J. Leiper Gemmill." 


Page Fifty-eight 

The second letter is from William Genimell, an eminent phy- 
sician and surgeon of Scotstounhill, Glasgow, and a Fellow of 
the Royal Scottish Society of Arts and Antiquities. 
His Honour 

Judge William N. Gemmill, 
Dear Sir: — 

I have been in London for the past fortnight, and on 
my return find a letter from Dr. James F. Gemmill, say- 
ing he has had an enquiry from you regarding some 
Kilmarnock Gemmills of the late seventeenth and early 
eighteenth centuries. 

Though one or two individuals of the name rose to 
eminence, there never was a clan Gemmill, nor a chief of 
a clan, nor a properly constituted legal coat-of-arms 
(though there were a number of bastard coats-of-arms — 
a feature still common in Scotland, I am sorry to say). 
In fact the Gemmills were, as a rule, agriculturists who 
went on tilling the ground and breeding families, at both 
of which they displayed considerable ability. Hardly 
ever do we find their names among the soldiers : theirs the 
arts of peace. Sporadically a few become members of 
the professions, and some did well in these, others, not so 
well. There was a strong religious strain among the 
name in Scotland, and being strongest in Ayrshire, the 
centre of the Covenanters of the days of Charles II and 
James II, some have perished by the sword for their re- 
ligious convictions. There are Gemmills now in Kil- 
marnock, one of whom, a thriving jobmaster, was provost 
of Ayr a few years ago. 

Sincerely and Faithfully, 

William Gemmell." 

Page Fifty-nine 


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From an early day there were Gemmills who settled in 
Canada. While there is no doubt that these belong to the same 
parent stock, yet most of them trace their ancestry back to the 
Gemmills of Tempelhouse in the Parish of Dunlop, not far from 
Glasgow. The parishes of Kilmarnock and Dunlop are both in 
Ayreshire. The Gemmills of Templehouse trace an unbroken 
line of descent from 1500 down to the present day. Prior to that 
time, there is evidence that at times persons bearing some form 
of the name Gemmill occupied the same lands. 

According to a record, dated 1264, one of these Gemmills was 
made a knight, and a town and a parish were named after him. 
The town was called "Gemilstown." Robertson, the historian, 

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Page Sixty- one 

says in his works, Volume 37, page 336, "The name Gemmill is 
pretty general in this part of the country. Several of that name 
have at different times been ranked among the land proprietors 
and free holders, while others have attained to great opulence 
or have been connected by intermarriage with some of the princi- 
pal families of the country. 

I will not attempt to follow this branch of the family through 
the two or three centuries intervening, but mention only a few 
families. There was a certain Patrick Gemmill who seems to 
have been a man of more than usual wealth and prominence. 
The record shows that he owned many lands, made many loans 
and took many pieces of property as security. On the night of 
November 4, 1570, three men entered his house and robbed him. 
They were arrested, tried and hanged. A part of the charge 
against them is as follows : 

Three men, under silence and cloud of night, climbed 

to Patrick GenimilFs dwelling house in Templehonse, 

when he and his wife and family was in a sober and quiet 

manner taking the night's rest, and there brak up the 

door and entered therein and took the said Patrick and 

his wife furth of their beds, bound his wife and cast her 

into a nickel kist. Menaced the said Patrick to deliver 

to them his silver and gold and because he refused to do 

the same they bound a tether round his neck and hung 

him up upon a balk, where he hung a long time until 

he was cut down, alive," etc. 

After this Patrick there seems to have been many succeeding 

Patrick Gemmills in Ayrshire. It soon came about, however, 

that the names of John, William, Eobert, Thomas, Margaret, 

Jannett, Agnes and Mary, were the most favored names with the 


Among these were two brothers, William and Thomas, who 
in 1826 were muslin manufacturers in Glasgow under the firm 
name of Gemmill & Company. They prospered greatly and soon 
thereafter branched out as general commission agents with 
branch houses in Valparaiso, Chile, Lima, Peru, Canton and 
Hongkong, China, and Manila, P. I. They amassed great wealth. 
One of the early settlers in Canada was John Gemmill, who 

Page Sixty-tivo 

sailed from Scotland in 1821, and landed in Quebec. He was 
six feet, four inches in height. He journeyed by way of the St. 
Lawrence River from Montreal, and when the boat capsized it 
was found that five passengers were named John Gemmill, one 
of them was his son John Alexander Gemmill, who in later years 
was a merchant in Carleton Place, and was a writer of con- 
siderable prominence. This John Alexander Gemmill likewise 
had a son named John Alexander Gemmill. This son was born 
at Carleton Place, March 10, 1846. He was educated at the 
Grange Sunderland, and at the University of Glasgow. He was 
admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1871, and at once took a 
prominent place. He was a director of the Canadian Pacific 
Railway Company and President of the Great North West 
Central Railway Company. He was prominent in philanthropic 
work, and was President of St. Andrew Society of Ottawa. He 
wrote a book upon the subject of Parliamentary Divorces in 
Canada. He was married to Emily Helen Ogilvie, whose father 
is mentioned by Burke as belonging to the gentry of Scotland. 
John Alexander Gemmill died in 1905, and his widow now lives 
with her two sons in Winnipeg, Canada, while her other two sons 
are fighting for their country in France. 

Page Sixty-three 

SgEii* \ 


Corporal Cuthbert Gem mill 

Manchline, Scotland 

Captured by the Germans 

2nd Lieut. Alexander Gem mill 

Scottish Rifles 

Eldest son of 

William Gemmill 

Solicitor, Glasgow, Scotland 

On service in India 

Trooper Patrick Gemmill 

Winnepeg, Canada 
Kecentl v wounded in France 

Capt. James Dunlop Gemmill 
of Royal Engineers 
Winnepeg, Canada 



It must be of interest to those who bear the name of Gemmill 
to know that many of their kinsfolk, either have been, or are 
now actively engaged in the greatest of all world conflicts. 

I am not able to present the complete Roll of Honor, and I 
will only mention here a few names of men whose enlistments 
and achievements have come to my knowledge. 

First among these is SECOND LIEUTENANT JOHN A. 
GEMMILL of the Sixteenth Highland Light Infantry, who was 
killed while gallantly leading his men into action on July 1, 1916, 
in the first great drive on the Somme. He was the eldest son 
of Mr. and Mrs. J. Leiper Gemmill of Dumbreck, Glasgow, Scot- 
land. His commanding officer, in writing from the battle front 
to Mr. J. Leiper Gemmill, on July 5, 1916, said : 
"Dear Mr. Gemmill : 

We have come through very hard fighting in what the 
French call the Battle of Pi cardie. I fancy it will be 
known by the same name, although sometimes I hear it 
referred to as the Battle of the Somme. Our Battalion 
had assigned to it a most important role in the leading 
attack and naturally suffered a good deal, as we were up 
against Germany's best troops. 

Your boy, Second Lieut. John A. Gemmill, was last 
seen urging on his platoon when those in front had 
fallen. It was a situation which might have unnerved 

Page Sixty-five 

any one as the fire was terrific, but with one hand in his 
trouser pocket and with a switch in the other, he was 
seen urging on his men to close with the enemy. His last 
words, I understand, were: 'Come on the good old 16th. 
Come on the good old H. L. I.' He then fell mortally 

No better soldier ever wore His Majesty's uniform. 
Had he been my own son I could not have loved him more. 
Quiet, unassuming, thorough, adored by his men and be- 
loved by his superiors, he made the great sacrifice for his 
King and Country without flinching, and has shed a halo 
around his name which cannot perish. I cannot express 
myself in words. I would rather congratulate you on 
being the father of such a boy. If God had given me such 
a son I would have been the proudest man living." 
STEWART ARMOUR GEMMILL was Captain of the Sixth 
Battalion Highland Light Infantry. He was the fourth and 
youngest son of John and Elizabeth Gemmill of 27 Atholl 
Gardens, Glasgow, Scotland. He was educated at the Glasgow 
Academy and had become an expert analytical chemist. A short 
time after he left school he was sent to India to work as an 
analytical chemist in the gold mines there. When the war broke 
out he at once returned to London to join his regiment. On his 
arrival he found that he had been excused from services at the 
front with his regiment, on the ground that his services at the 
mines were of such a character that he could not be spared. He, 
however, was unwilling to be excused, and at his urgent request 
was permitted to rejoin his regibent, and in May, 1915, pro- 
ceeded with it to Gallipoli. Shortly after his arrival there he 
was chosen to lead his battalion in the famous charge of the 12th 
of July on Achi Baba Mullah. In this charge he was mortally 
wounded and was taken to the general hospital in Alexandria, 
Egypt, where he died on July 22, 1915. He is now buried in a 
military cemertery at that place. For this gallant charge he and 
his brave followers were highly complimented by the Command- 
ing Officer, Sir Ian Hamilton. 

Page Sixty-six 

Lieutenant John A. (Jem mill 
Glasgow, Scotland 

Eldest son of 

J. Leiper Gemini]] 

Killed in action, July 1, 1916 

2nd Lieut. Cuthbert Gemmill 

of 1st Gordan Highlanders 

Second son of 

•J. Leiper Gemmill 

Solicitor. Glasgow, Scotland 

Fighting in France 

Neil A. Gemmill 

Age 15 

Officers Training Corps 

Third and youngest son of 

J. Lei per Gemmill 

Glasgow, Scotland 

JOHN GEMMILL, the third son of John and Elizabeth Gem- 
mill, and a brother of Stewart Armour Gemmill, joined the 
Glasgow Highlanders at the outbreak of the war. In a short 
time he was made lieutenant of the Sixth Highland Light In- 
fantry, but was soon thereafter raised to the rank of Captain 
in the Twelfth Battalion Highland Infantry, and with his regi- 
ment was sent to France in June, 11)15. On September 25, 1915, 
while gallantly leading his Company into action at the battle of 
Loos, he was instantly killed by shell fire. His body now lies 
buried in France. 

These two brothers, John and Stewart, were grandsons of 
Hugh Gemmill, who recently died in Kilmarnock. In his life- 
time he owned the old farm of Todd Hill in Fenwick, which has 
been occupied by his forefathers for over two hundred years. 

CUTHBERT GEMMILL, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Cuthbert 
Gemmill of Mauchline, Scotland, was a corporal at the age of 
twenty in the Highland Scotch Regiment, but he is now a 
prisoner in Germany. When last seen by his comrades he was 
rallying his men forward to the front line trenches of the Ger- 
mans, at a place called Highwood. 

CUTHBERT GEMMMILL, the second son of J. Leiper Gem- 
mill of Glasgow, and brother of the late Captain John A. Gem- 
mill, is now a second lieutenant of the first battalion of the fa- 
mous Gordon Highlanders, and is fighting somewhere in France. 

JAMES DUNLOP GEMMILL is Captain of the Seventh 
Field Company of the Royal Engineers of the British expedition- 
ary force. He was born in Ottawa, Canada, December 11, 1885. 
His fahter was John Alexander Gemmill, a prominent barrister 
of Ottawa, and a director of the Canadian Pacific Railway Com- 
pany. His mother, Emily Helen Gemmill, is now a widow living 
at Armstrong Point, Winnipeg, Canada. Before her marriage 
she was Emily Helen Ogilvie, the daughter of one of the oldest 
and most prominent families of Montreal. Captain James 
Gemmill graduated from the Royal University College of Kings- 
ton, in 1006, with the highest honors, receiving the Governor- 
General's gold medal, and thereby winning his commission in the 
Royal Engineers. Immediately following his graduation, he 

Page Sixty-seven 

spent two years in the School of Military Engineering in 
Chathan, England, and from there was sent for five years to 
Gibralter. From thence he was sent for six months to Calais, 
France, and it was while serving here that he was called to the 
front as Captain, commanding the Seventh Field .Company, 
which has recently been highly praised by Sir Douglas Haig. 

PATRICK GEMMILL, the younger brother of Captain James 
Dunlop Gemmill, enlisted as a trooper at the age of nineteen in 
the Fort Horse, and went over the seas with the first contingent 
in September, 1914. He spent the first winter of the war on 
Salisbury Plains where he endured great hardships. In the 

Page Sixty-eight 

spring he was transferred to Lord Strathcona's Horse and went 
to France where, on May 24, in a sharp battle, he was severely 
wounded. For nineteen hours after receiving his wounds he lay 
unattended in the trench, tormented by thirst and expecting each 
moment to be his last. During this whole period he was under 
continuous fire from the enemy's guns. At last, under cover of 
darkness, he was rescued and sent to England, where he lay for 
a month in the hospital at Norwich. On his recovery he received 
a commission in the artillery service and spent a year training 
Territorials in England. In July, 1916, he was again sent to the 
front, and from that time to this has been almost continually 
under fire. His superior officer writes of him: "He is doing 
splendid work for his country." The noble mother of these two 
gallant young soldiers now lives with her other two sons in 
Winnipeg, and in closing a letter written to me concerning her 
sons at the front, under date December 11, 1916, she signs her- 
self: "Yours sincerely, E. H. Gemmil, the proud mother." 

WILFRID GEMMILL of Chatham, Ontario, enlisted in the 
Drury Medical Corps in January, 1918. He was at that time 
nineteen years old. He spent but nineteen days in England and 
was then hurried to the front in Belgium, where he was almost 
constantly under fire. He was later sent to France. Part of the 
time he was stationed at the base hospital, but most of the time 
he has been actively engaged at the front. 

ARCHIBALD GEMMILL, a son of Peter Gemmill of Paisley, 
Scotland, is now with the great army somewhere in France. 
He has a brother, Peter Gemmill, now living in Chicago. 

-> v'TS ! r .- r^ 

Page Sixty-nine 

John McAllister Gemmill 
Laurel, Pennsylvania 

J. Leiper Gemmill 
Glasgow, Scotland 



In preparing this sketch of the Gemmill family, I am greatly 
indebted to many persons, without whose aid I could have ac- 
complished but little. First among these is J. Leiper Gemmill 
of Dumbreck, Glasgow, Scotland. Mr. Gemmill is a distinguished 
writer (lawyer) of Glasgow. His forefathers were proprietors 
of land in Fenwick, and his family runs straight back to John 
Gemmill who lived through the troublous times of Mary Queen 
of Scots, and died in 1578, bequeathing his sword to his son. 
The Gemmills were devoted Covenanters, and the most treasured 
possession of Mr. Gemmill today is this old Covenanter sword 
of the family. He is a graduate of Glasgow University and was 
the founder of the National Burns Memorial Cottage Homes 
located at Mauchline, the home of the Scotch poet. He has served 
as burgess of Glasgow and is now a member of its Board of Edu- 
cation. He is an elder in the Church of Scotland and a member 
of the Presbytery of Glasgow. One of Mr. Gemmill's most fa- 
mous cases was that wherein he represented Miss Anna B. Burns, 
granddaughter and nearest heir of the poet, Robert Burns, where- 
in she sought to set aside the sale of the original Burns manu- 
script and to have them turned over to the government of Scot- 
land. In 1909, Mr. Gemmill wrote a book upon the Gemmills 
of Scotland. From this book I have copied much. In addition, 
I have, through correspondence with him, learned much of those 
who bear the Gemmill name in Scotland, and of the noble young 
fellows who today are gallantly upholding the honor of the name 
upon the battle fields in Europe. 

I am also greatly indebted to John McAllister Gemmill of 
Laurel, York County, Pennsylvania. He is a son of William 

Page Seventy-one 

and Agnes McAllister Gemmill and was born on the farm where 
he now resides January 16, 1848. Some of his ancestors lived in 
his immediate neighborhood 170 years ago. On his father's side 
were the Leipers and Wallaces and on his mother's side the 
Proudfoots and McCallisters, all Scotch. From 1870 to 1872, he 
lived in Kock Island, Illinois, and later in Philadelphia. He 
was married in 1875 to Elizabeth Hamilton whose parents came 
to America from Lanarkshire, Scotland. He is a grandson of 
William Gemmill who was born August 4, 1774, and who is my 
great grandfather. A good many years ago John McAllister 
Gemmill wrote, in a history of York County, Pennsylvania, a 
sketch of the Gemmills in that State. From this sketch I have 
gleaned much. In addition, I have from time to time received 
valuable information from him concerning the early families in 
Pennsylvania, especially relating to their occupation, lands and 
burial places. 

I desire also to record my indebtedness to William Gemmill 
of Scotstounhill, Glasgow, who has collected much data concern- 
ing the Gemmill genealogy, and who purposes to publish a book 
upon the subject in the near future. He is a prominent Doctor 
or Medicine and Surgery in Scotland, and a Fellow of the Scot- 
tish Koyal Society of Arts and Antiquities. 

I am likewise under deep obligation to Professor James N. 
Gemmill, now principal of the Glenn Rock, Pennsylvania Pub- 
lic Schools. Mr. Gemmill was for twelve years vice-principal of 
the Wrightsville Public Schools. He is the son of Robert Gem- 
mill who was my father's half brother. In many letters he has 
told of our more immediate relatives whom we of the West have 
never known. He married Mary E. Beard, granddaughter of 
John E. Beard, the tanner of Lower Windsor Township. He has 
a daughter who graduated from the high school last June. 

Nor can I overlook my debt to Mrs. Emily Helen Gemmill 
of Armstrong Point, Winnipeg, Canada. In spite of the dis- 
tractions of the terrible war in which two of her sons are fight- 
ing, she has taken the time to write me on several occasions and 

Page Seventy-two 

in addition has furnished me with a copy of a book on the Gem- 
mill family written by her late husband. In writing of the 
Templehouse Gemmills, I have copied freely from this book. 

My obligations would not be complete without mentioning 
the name of Miss Mary Gemmill of Chatham, Ontario, from whom 
I received Mr. J. Leiper GeniniilPs book upon the early history 
of the Gemmills in Scotland. She has also given me an interest- 
ing account of three grandfather's clocks that were distributed 
among several members of the Gemmill family. 

From various sources I have received accounts of some 
strange and wonderful grandfathers clocks that from generation 
to generation have been handed down to the bearers of the Gem- 
mill name. 

Page Seventy-three 

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